Drivers caught behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs in December have been warned they could be banned from the road by Christmas.

West Yorkshire Police has launched a hard-hitting campaign releasing a series of videos of real life incidents, showing the impact of drink or drugs on people’s ability to drive.

The Roads Policing Unit will also be tweeting details of all arrests for drink or drug-driving this month using the hashtag #WYPTheCost.

For the first time in West Yorkshire, there will be court rooms at both Leeds and Bradford magistrates’ courts specifically for drink-drive cases arising from the December drink-drive campaign.

The first of these is on Thursday December 23, meaning that any drivers caught drink or drug-driving in the next couple of weeks could be facing a driving ban and fine by Christmas.

Each year, West Yorkshire Police supports the National Police Chief’s Council’s (NPCC) Christmas Drink/Drug Drive campaign. Last year, in total from December 1 2020 to January 1 2021, there were 164 arrests for drink-driving,156 arrests for drug-driving and 21 people arrested for failing to provide a sample.

Chief Insp Katy Woodmason, head of West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “We know that over the Christmas period there tends to be an increase in family meet-ups, work dos and social gatherings, which can all contribute to an increase in, particularly, drink driving both on the night and the morning after. 

“Last year for the first time, potentially due to pubs and bars being closed because of the pandemic, we saw nearly the same amount of arrests for drug-driving as drink-driving.”

One of the videos which will be released later this month shows a man who had been arrested on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs doing a Field Impairment Test (FIT).

The test – which includes being asked to walk in a straight line and other exercises – is designed to establish whether a driver is impaired and is carried out in addition to a breath test for alcohol and drugs wipe for cannabis and cocaine. 

Another video, which has been released as part of the campaign launch, features PC Stephen Wales who nearly lost a leg and has still been unable to return to work after he was hit by a drink-driver in July.

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“Both drink or drugs can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to drive and the consequences can be catastrophic,” said Chief Insp Woodmason.

“This winter season we are urging people to plan ahead and think about how they are going to get home and whether they need to put other arrangements in place to do the school run or get to work the morning after a night out.

“If you are caught drink or drug-driving, the cost to you could be a significant fine and a ban from driving but that is the best-case scenario.

“We don’t want to be knocking on any doors this December telling a family that their loved one won’t be home for Christmas because they have been seriously injured or died in a collision caused by a drink or drug driver,” Chief Insp Woodmason added.

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